A few days ago, TimesUnion reported that researchers at the Neural Stem Cell Institute (NSCI), New York have developed a new product called StemBeads, which is a type of "food" for stem cells. The researchers say that StemBeads can greatly reduce the cost of stem cell cultures, allowing more scientists to get involved in stem cell research.
According to Christofer Fasano, NSCI's director of research and development, stem cells need a constant supply of several, expensive nutrients like growth factors. Without these nutrients, they become unstable and start differentiating into all kinds of different types of cells, making them useless for research purposes. Fasano says that in many cases the cost of these nutrients represents up to one-third of the total costs.
In response to the need for cheaper stem cell "food", the NSCI researchers have created a new product called StemBeads. StemBeads works by gradually releasing growth factors over the course of several days, allowing researchers to administer growth factors only 2-3 times per week instead of the normal 7 times per week.